tv [untitled] June 11, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
the leaders are vet jobs and corporate gray. the three of us do validate each person that's putting up the resume. some of the other let anybody put up a resume. and in reality most veterans do not put their resumes up on the internet. we're getting over 200,000 visitors a month, but we only have 140,000 active resumes. and it's been hammered into us that our friends over the sandbox are using sites like vets assess or other free sites to track down veterans and attack them in this country. i wish the press would cover that more. i hear that from a lot of employers because until they need to make a hire, they aren't always aware of who the players in a given space are. sort of like i don't know any heart doctors, but if all of a sudden i needed to have a heart
operation i'm going to do a lot of research to find out who's going to be a good one. so it's not a common thing that everybody uses on a daily basis. regarding the matching, the more advanced sites, ours being one of them, military hire's another good example, have matching mechanisms and career assessment test that we have people -- a cri test out of ft. worth where we can identify a veteran that matches best with the employer. at vet jobs we have customer service reps. when a customer puts up a job and we've got about 52,000 jobs up today, when they're key jobs, we will go in to the database, identify people, and refer them into customers. we've had a pretty good success rate. but a lot of the complaints that he or she was voicing really comes from just not understanding how the system works. and it's because it's not a system that's used day in and day out.
>> what would you suggest, if anything, maybe that we just -- part of the problem in this area is all of us want to help. >> right. >> and sometimes, you know, all best intentions have ugly endings in government. and frankly, i'm beginning to believe that this reporting requirement to the department of labor is a good example of that, where all best intentions, where we were going to try to keep track of contractors hiring veterans and -- but no one is doing the due diligence to make that effort really meaningful in any way. what could we do that would help an employer like crescent plumbing supply in st. louis find veterans in a way that is more efficient for them? you know, now, these are great folks, and they just kept working at it until they found two. because they wanted to do this because they love their country, and they want to hire veterans. but i'm not sure very many businesses as small as this business is would have spent the time and effort they spent at it. what should we be doing to make this easier?
i'm surprised that your website wouldn't pop up as one of the first if you went on to search hiring veterans -- >> we generally pop up in the top three or four. >> and is it clear on your website that all the veterans on there have been certified as veterans? >> oh, yes. >> okay. >> we've caught some people who put their resumes up that weren't veterans. we take them out. but some suggestions to help improve the system. one would be to have your veterans' representatives at the workforce centers, what they call elvers and dvops. i just assume you understand what they are. local veteran employment rep and disabled vet opportunities. >> i speak that language now.
i've been on the committee for six years. >> having more of them familiar with what goes on -- i'm a little outspoken. i'm not politically correct. but madam, you've got a lot of people in the d.o.l. who are the classic bureaucrats. they have a wonderful job if it weren't for all these damn people coming in wanting help. and they don't take the initiative. and i'll give you a real good example. we had a veteran down there in georgia who needed a job. he's in his 50s. and he'd been sitting over at the d.o.l. office for three days, trying to get help to get a job. and each day he'd go in they'd say oh, we have you in the system now. welcome back. you're in our system now. you're in the system now. he didn't give a damn about being in the system. he wanted a job. so someone had him give us a call, and we found out where he was living. he didn't have a car. did a google search of his apartment and found a public supermarket, a target, and a walmart all within walking distance of his apartment complex. we called the managers of those three stores, and all three of
them said send him over, interviewed him. two of them made him a job offer. he took one of them. he went with target because they paid more than the others. but the -- we did all that inside of 20 minutes. why can't you have this $50,000 a year bureaucrat sitting on their butt in a nice air-conditioned office do the same thing? because there's no penalty, and there's no incentive to go out and do it. and i know that's not politically correct, but that is the brute reality. and we deal with that day in and day out down at our office. but having them better educated as to what the real resources are for their local area, because all employment's on a local level -- >> right. >> -- and being able to direct someone as to what are the good sites -- we put out a listing of what we consider to be all the legitimate job boards on the internet because there are so many rip-off sites, especially targeting veterans and their spouses.
that would be a big move forward if they would do that. >> well, i think we've got to figure out a way to try to remove as much of this as possible from the federal government and put it in the state and local offices where -- because frankly, they're going to be the ones that are going to have their best ears to the ground. >> yes, ma'am. >> let me ask about both booz allen and mantech. you all have great records. both of your companies told us that the reporting requirements were not burdensome on your companies. i'm not sure that they're providing much value, but you did say they weren't burdensome. let me ask you this about the national guard problem. are the majority of the people that you're hiring actually those that are leaving active service as opposed to national guard? >> i can't talk to those
statistics. i know that we capture those. and i could probably look through my files here and see what those numbers are. but we -- i was thinking about congressional mandate programs. and one of the congressionally mandated programs that we absolutely love and we know it has a high impact and it does make a difference, and it has to do with those who are in the process of separating from the military, and that's that t.a.p. program. >> transition and assistance program. >> in the army they call it acat. they may call it a little different. but this is where you can really, you know, work with them and help them think through how to write a resume. you know, how to -- so i'll look through our numbers, and i may not be able to comment here, but i don't think that the majority of them are national guard or reserves. they're typically ones who are separating from the military. >> right. if you would get those numbers for us, that would be helpful, miss sullivan. and how about you, miss hardy? i assume those things are probably true for booz allen, that the majority are those separating from active service? >> correct.
and about 11% of our 30% hires self-identify as having recently separated. representing, one, the highest overall diversity constituency group within the firm. but also indicating that these individuals are coming directly from the military, from active duty to booz allen as a first stop. i do not have the numbers for the reservists, but we do capture them and certainly can provide them to the subcommittee. >> i think it would be really important to get those numbers. and let me ask you, mr. sulayman. i think this national guard situation is a crisis. i think it's something we are kind of sweeping under the rug and not paying close attention to. when i was the elected prosecutor in kansas city, i remember looking at resumes and thinking the national guard was a really good thing.
now, that was before it became an operational reserve. and i think the testimony that was given here today demonstrates the problem. you know, these companies aren't hiring people just because they want to hire a veteran. they're hiring them because they need them for their ongoing business operations. and you can't blame them for not wanting to hire someone and train them, thinking they're going to be gone four or five times over a six or seven-year period or four or five times over a seven or eight-year period or even four or five times over a ten-year period. now, i know we are drawing down in afghanistan, and obviously we have drawn down in iraq. but i think that we have permanently injured the ability of national guard -- the national guard to get employment in our country. by the way, we have made these changes. and i don't think they were well thought out. i get it. we didn't have enough boots. we had to do it because our
ground force wasn't big enough. but what i don't think they anticipated, that there was going to be this problem. and i think it's one of the reasons that we've had some of the problems with suicides and some of the other issues that we're seeing in our military. what would you recommend that we could do short of convincing our military leadership that they need to go back to the old way in terms of utilizing the guard and the reserve? what could we do that could help this problem? >> well, ma'am, i mean, you really hit on the big crux of the matter, that the national guard and the reserves have been used in unprecedented fashion in the conflicts in iraq and afghanistan. they've been used as an operational reserve. and i know that in briefings that i've been to at the pentagon the army has talked about their force generation model, they refer to as r4-gen. envisions guard and reserve units activating at least once,
or they say once every five years, so out of every five-year period you can expect to be deployed out of the national guard or reserve. and more often if you're switching units, you know, and you happen to catch the unit at the right or the wrong time, depending on your opinion, in the cycle. and that's going to be a continued issue, particularly with smaller employers who can stand to absorb that loss less well. i know that there are -- you know, what we've heard from our membership somewhat anecdotally is that they're not getting hired because they're in the guard or reserve and that employers have -- it's one of the questions that they're often asked. you know, are you in the guard or reserve? are you anticipating deploying anytime soon?
and that there are some bills, both in the house and the senate, that are designed at strengthening userra protections and make that law a little bit tougher. but really -- >> and userra protections are the protections that were put into the law that prohibit the discrimination against members of the guard and reserve in connection with their military service? >> yes, ma'am. so having those employment and re-employment rights a little bit stronger we believe is always a good thing. but we think that incentivizing employers, it's better to dangle the carrot than break out the stick. and we believe that most employers want to hire veterans. it's just like you said, those concerns of missing out on an employee who you anticipate having, especially if you're a small or medium-sized business. it's really a tough question we've been trying to work with employers through our smart job fairs to convince them that here's the value of a guard or reservist, and that they may be
gone for a year out of a five-year period, but their skills as managers and leaders are going to be sharper. i deployed with a reserve unit to iraq. it was a light armored reconnaissance unit. we had obviously heavily mechanical. and we had a lot of mechanics in the civilian world who i would say that after the nine months we were deployed, you know, tearing engines out and tearing them apart and rebuilding them in a foot and a half of moon dust sand in the iraqi desert without any electricity, without any water, without any lifts, you know, basically improvising all of this, you know, the cummins diesel engines and transmissions, detroit diesel engines that were on the trucks that they repaired back in their civilian lives, that that made them much better and more
efficient at their jobs once they returned home. and that's really a job of selling that to potential employers because the army, as you said, and the marine corps, which is i understand going to operate on a similar force generation model along with reserves are not going to change that because of the operational commitments that we have and what we need to fulfill. >> let me turn to senator begich for some questions and then i'll have some additional questions when he's done. >> thank you very much, madam chair. first, i appreciate you all being here and giving us some insight on what we need to do about our employment for veterans. you know, my state has about 11%, 12% of the population are veterans. highest per capita in the nation. so we have a lot of need and, as you can imagine, a lot of issues that come up. you know, when i was mayor, just to follow up on the guard issue, the esgr, we always signed up on it because we wanted to make sure people were taken care of no matter where they were. is there an -- let me just throw an idea, and i have a couple
questions more specific. anyone who wants to answer this, and i'll start with you, ramsey, if that's okay. to create an incentive for the businesses to -- they know they're going to be gone for a period of time. the question is how long can you keep those kind of jobs open? is there a -- through tax policy is there an opportunity to create incentives to incentivize them not only to hire them but to keep that space open and creating flex schedules? i don't know who wants to answer. >> i'll answer that, sir. i've testified about this several times in the past. tax incentives, while nice and a feel-good from a political standpoint, isn't a driver to get people hired. and what i hear from employers is they would -- they love getting the people off active duty, but they would be more than willing to support members of the national guard and reserve if they were compensated for when their employee's taken away. >> gotcha.
>> so if sulayman works for me and he gets called up, i want a direct cash stipend so that i can hire a contractor to do his job until he gets back. that's the cost of doing business. >> gotcha. >> i can't spend a tax credit. and one of the big problems with a lot of tax credits is that once the department of labor lays out all the tracking requirements, i may be getting $9,600 back, but it maybe costing me $11,000 for all the reporting and tracking. >> just to keep track of that. >> and i'm not going to make it up in volume. >> so the better approach, at least from your view, is if there's an opportunity to do a differential, a cash differential for the period of time deployed so you can at least keep the work flow moving. >> yes. but see, you've got a bigger problem. it's a systemic problem. userra was written for when people are gone on the weekend or maybe a two-week active -- it wasn't designed for people going
away for 12, 18 or 24 months. so it's out of -- it's an anachronism. the -- what's happening now, and we documented this when the iowa brigade was called up. they had 750 people that were unemployed. a little over 30% of the brigade. they did not lose their jobs when they were over in afghanistan. they lost their jobs before they left. because it was announced day 160 from mobilization day. and most of them lost their jobs from day 150 down to day 90 because the employers realized if i lay you off under the guise of the recession i'm not subject to userra because i'm not subject to userra till you have your orders in hand. >> got you. >> now, if you say we're going to make userra effective the moment you announce a unit, nobody will ever hire a member of the national guard. >> right. >> you have a systemic problem. it's the way the guard and reserve are being used. and until you fix that problem, everything else is just going to be a band-aid. >> very good.
>> sir, i agree in large part with what mr. daywalt said. but, you know, one of the things that also has to be considered is that less than 1% of the population has served in these conflicts. >> that's right. >> so this isn't a situation where, you know, like a world war ii where you had i think 11% is the figure, and so everybody had a brother or a cousin or husband or wife or, you know, sister or, you know -- there was a relative or a neighbor, somebody who was close to you. so everybody had sacrifice. i mean, there was rationing of sugar and gas stamps. i mean, my grandmother -- my grandfather went away and all his brothers, and it's interesting to hear my grandmother talking about silk stockings, you know, not being able to have stockings during world war ii, you know, and i think, that's just weird. you know, it's just something that isn't in -- and i've been
in the marine corps for 14 years. you know, and that's something that just doesn't enter my mind. but i think employers have to understand that there's a sacrifice associated with the wars that have been fought and that, you know, while tax incentives or direct stipends -- you know, if those are the carrots that we come to understand are the best solutions and that we can afford to do, you know, that would be great, but it's also a matter of the country's shared sacrifice. >> it's a moral obligation. >> yes, sir. i mean, it's a moral obligation. the reservists that i took over, you know, a lot of them, as mr. daywalt said lost their jobs, you know, before we left. oh, hard economic times. your job's gone. you know, we don't -- and under userra if the job disappears, you don't have to find another position.
so employers understanding that this is part of the shared sacrifice. and hopefully as afghanistan winds down, this becomes less and less of a problem. but as senator mccaskill pointed out with the unprecedented use and the army force generation model that i was talking about, you know, it remains to be seen exactly what effect that's going to have in the future. continuing an operational reserve. so we really feel at iava that it's a moral obligation. it's a small percentage of the population that's been doing a lot of the fighting in multiple deployments. >> let me hold you there. only because i want to -- i have one quick question left here, and that is it's a big question but kind of -- january '11 gao reported how many different employment training programs there are. i think it's 40, 50, between the department of labor, departmench veterans affairs, and all these other miss laneos -- i'm coming
more and more to the feeling that maybe we consolidate these, put them all in the department of veterans, focus in that arena. give me a couple quick thoughts. my time is pretty close to being out here. but i just think we have so many department of labor tries. bless their soul. but veterans understand veterans, and it seems like we should just shift it all, streamline it, and focus on what we should be doing. and that is employing and retraining and have the veterans administration do it in concert with their veterans benefit programs and all these other things they do. thoughts from folks? >> yes, sir. there's a -- >> take your time. you don't need to hurry. >> okay. there's legislation in the house that's currently working its way through. i think it's hr-4072. >> right. >> which iava supports and is designed to take department of labor and vets program and transfer it wholesale to the v.a. we subscribe to the same thinking that you have, sir, that veterans affairs is what a
veteran thinks of when -- where do i go for help? i'm going to the v.a. and the fact that the legislation is written to just basically make an address change is a good thing because it's not diminishing any of the functions of the vets' program. >> it seems like if you're a vet you're coming in, you're trying to figure out do i need some more education if i want to be in this job, and do i need any medical assistance with some of the issues i might have had or might not have? seems like you want to do that in one place. >> yes, sir. and d.o.l. vets has employment outreach. and v.a. has employment outreach. you know, so having d.o.l. vets move and become v.a. vets and do the employment for veterans at v.a. to us makes sense because it removes some of that duplicative effort over at v.a., and it just centralizes it all.
it's a little bit that i talked about in my testimony here. with the numbers in the outreach for veterans small business we feel that d.o.l. -- or v.a. should be a conduit, that d.o.l. should be a conduit. if veterans come to d.o.l. or v.a. looking for small business help and advice, they should go to the veterans outreach over at sba because those are the experts. and that's the same thing that we feel with d.o.l. vets moving to v.a. >> madam chair, can i ask ted. were you about to say something to that issue? oh, okay. i appreciate. let me just end there. you actually answered my second question, which was on the small business. you got right to it. because i think the same thing, that we want to make sure it's as streamlined as possible. i know there are some good efforts being done with t.a.p. and trying to move entrepreneurship. i still don't -- you know, the t.a.p. still has a lot of work to be done. i think the mind of a soldier gone into and having to take that program and trying to figure out how to take that
program, they're not focused on that. they're focused on thank god i'm out doing x, y, z. i've got to go to where now for what? and i think the more we can improve that. but also entrepreneurs, seem like a huge opportunities for veterans. i just met some in alaska some small companies, all veterans. incredible work they're doing. worldwide operations now. small little manufacturing business. but very precise. they took their skill, turned it into a business that struggled getting their business together but because enough of them banded together they had some capital and, you know, just seems like that's an incredible track for veterans as someone who comes from the small business world. seems like this is a huge opportunity for their innovation. >> i'd like to add to what you just said, senator. i'm on the small business council of the u.s. chamber. and i've had -- i've submitted 11 different ideas of how to help the national guard and reserve, and one of which is for the government to put up a pool of money so that -- and this would only help maybe 12%, 14%, people in the national guard. but a pool of money where they
can draw no interest or low interest notes so they can buy a franchise. there's a lot of advantages to that because veterans tend to hire other veterans. everybody in vet jobs is either in the military, married to the military, or child of the military. don't tell d.o.l. that. they'll say i'm discriminating. but we do. and if they're in the guard, you can't file a userra complaint against yourself. >> right, right. >> and while they're gone, their family can be running it while they're deployed and when they come back there's no employment problem, there's no loss of benefits, no loss of income, but it would only help 10% to 14% of them. and there's a lot of other things that help the others. but entrepreneurship, veterans, study after study -- booz has done a great study on that. shows that some of our best entrepreneurs -- >> are veterans. >> -- are prior military because that all-important quality called leadership, and they can understand risk. because if i made a mistake out
there, it costs some of my troops their lives. so you can make a decision very quickly. and so entrepreneurship would be a big part. there is no silver bullet. >> right. >> i'm always fascinated when i come up here because everybody's looking for the one silver bullet that's going to solve all the problems. the problem is multi-facetted. there is no one silver bullet. you're going to have to do 11, 12, 13 things. and none of them are cheap. >> right. i'll just end this comment -- thank you, madam chair, for the chance to ask a couple questions. again, thank you all for doing what you're doing. but you're right on the franchise piece. i have seen some good reports. and franchisers, which i've looked into many times in my years, the veteran component, they look for because of just what you just said. because they know when you say okay, build five stores, here's the -- it's like a mission. and they're on it. and they figure out how to move through it. but their issue is capital. it's always because of -- you do a franchise, there's no $5,000 issue. it's a $50,000 to $250,000 -- >> or more. >> -- or more depending on the franchise you get.
>> international franchise association sponsors a group called vet fran. we're part of that. they have a big initiative this summer. the vfw and some of the other vsos are getting involved with it now. we think that's a good solution. >> it's a piece. >> that's it. it's a piece of the puzzle. >> thank you, madam chair. >> maybe we could do away with some of the bureaucracies around this issue and take that savings and put it into a fund that could -- for low-interest loans. >> combine the department of labor with vets, take that savings, put it into -- >> it's more than just the department of labor. >> oh, yeah, it is. >> there's something touching veterans in almost every agency of government. all for the right reason. because people wanted to help veterans. but what we've done is we've spawned -- and what this hearing today has shown, is that one piece of that that we've exposed is this report that everybody's supposed to file. you guys are doing a great job. they don't even have your data. one of the data they had showed that somebody you hired, you weren't here, senator, but the
committee got data from the department of labor that showed the one company hired 400% veterans more than they employed. in their total employees. so clearly, we're -- the data is like a joke. it's like a joke. it's like a bad joke. let me ask the certification of -- you know, this is something that was scandalous that the sba had to deal with, where it was discovered that somebody was claiming to be a veteran, was getting the advantages of being a veteran and was not a veteran. and even worse, i believe the example that brought this to light was they were claiming a service-disabled veteran and they weren't even a veteran. so first, how can we certify veterans for advantages that we try to put into the law for them in a way that doesn't hinder the entrepreneurialship of them as they move into the business world? and second, what about fronting?
how many veterans are being hired to front for companies to get the benefits that are associated with a veteran-owned business? and how -- in your experience have you all seen that, and if so, do you think the government even dents the surface of getting at fronting? >> well, ma'am, i can tell you that i've heard of fronting. we have not heard anything anecdotally. and i've talked to folks at sba and v.a. and d.o.l. on those issues a couple of times. the process that the v.a. goes through right now to certify veteran contractors, veteran businesses, is apparently -- it's statutorily mandated, and i understand the intent was to eliminate some of those issues and abuses. but it's also made it very difficult for veteran-owned companies, whether they're small, w